Resort creator Andy Siara talks about his influences for the mystery comedy series, keeping audiences guessing, High Maintenance and more.
Spirits behind Palm Springs and Mister Robot comes the dark comedy series The complex. The show centers on Emma and Noah, a married couple struggling to maintain their relationship after a decade who find renewed excitement in investigating the decade-old disappearance of two young adults from their vacation spot.
The complex features an ensemble cast including Cristin Milioti as Emma, William Jackson Harper as Noah, Skyler Gisondo, Nina Bloomgarden, Nick Offerman, Luis Gerardo Méndez, Gabriela Cartol, Dylan Baker, Becky Ann Baker and Ben Sinclair.
Before the premiere of the show, Screen Rant spoke exclusively with creator Andy Siara to discuss Jhe Resortleaving the audience guessing, how his love of High maintenance considered in the development of the series and more.
Screen rate: The complex really came out of nowhere for me, and I’ve really enjoyed what I’ve seen so far. How did the concept of the show really start to come together for you?
Andy Siara: It started about eight years ago, I wrote a feature about Sam and his parents going to a resort and for a week he befriended this older couple, who eventually became Emma and Noah and there was no mystery in that one, it was a little standalone coming of age story. Then it didn’t work, it wasn’t very good. [Laughs] So I put it aside and then it was the thing that I couldn’t quite leave, at all, I just went back to it every year and tried to look at it through a new lens, I I was trying to blow it up, I was trying to reimagine it as something totally different. It kept not working.
Then eventually I realized, like maybe around 2019, that I wasn’t just looking at the relationships that inspired the original story, but also the script itself through that nostalgic lens as something that was trying to resume, but I was now like eight years older and my life changed and the world had changed dramatically by that time. [Chuckles] So I blew it up and just split these characters on these two timelines, where you have a married couple trying to solve this mystery of what happened to these two missing young adults, but also trying to solve this has happened in the last eight years or so, or I guess 15 years in history.
So there’s a mystery built into that and then mixed in with all of my thoughts about nostalgia and the true crime industrial complex and my love of disaster movies and mystery movies and comedies and the writings of Jorge Luis Borges. It all filtered through it all and so it became this wild spectacle that takes big swings.
What have been some of the biggest challenges for you trying to hone all of these varied genres and ideas into one story?
Andy Siara: I always try to think of the audience’s perspective here, I never want the audience to be ahead of what’s going on, I don’t want my audience to predict what’s going to happen. I hope that by the end of the first episode, you definitely have no idea where the series will end, I’m pretty sure. It just takes a major left turn, obviously, in episode 4, but those left turns don’t stop, so it’s kind of a roller coaster. We’re more of a log ride, I guess, where there are drops and chill parts. [Chuckles] But I would say that was the hardest part of trying to balance what the audience knows and what they don’t know.
I know as a member of the public I always feel most excited when I know I’m in good hands where I don’t know what’s going on, I don’t know what’s going to happen, but I know that I’m really good at storytelling. It’s those feelings that are so rare to have as a viewer where you really have no idea what’s going to happen next, but you’re totally locked in for the ride and that’s the most exciting part of it all. we watch, I think everything I watch, so I just try to try to do that, to recreate that feeling.
You captured it very well on this show. As much as I love the entire cast, I’m also a big High maintenance fan, so seeing Ben Sinclair get in front of the camera as well as behind the camera for the show was awesome. How was his involvement for this?
Andy Siara: I love high maintenance. I remember it was in film school when I was first working on this early version of this feature film that Max, the director from Palm Springs, showed me the web series and I was like, “Oh, that’s perfect.” I just became a huge fan of it at that point and then when it came on HBO I was a huge fan and never missed an episode and just took pictures of the screen when they had some really good credit streaks, like end credit stuff, there’s one where he’s swinging from this moonlight chandelier above a club. Just those images that make you feel something.
I think he has such good control of the tone, where you go from silly to sincere, then to silly, then to sincerity and then to sad. So when we were looking for directors last year, I was like, “If I can get someone, I want to go straight to Ben.” He read it right away and I said, ‘Yeah, whatever you’re able to do’ and it was consistent with him being able to do the first four and then when we looked up who we wanted to cast for Alex, it was like, “Well, actually, why doesn’t Ben just play Alex? That makes perfect sense.” [Chuckles]
You’ve seen what he does in his role and it’s so specific but to me that’s kind of the midpoint of the show that the whole show is moving around this ingredient that this character brings to all of this . I think he succeeded. so it’s, but ultimately it’s because I’m a big fan of High Maintenance and I wanted to work with him.
The complex Synopsis
A multigenerational coming-of-age love story disguised as a fast-paced mystery about the disappointment of time. An anniversary trip puts a marriage to the test when the couple become embroiled in one of the Riviera Maya’s most bizarre unsolved mysteries that took place fifteen years before.
Check out our other interviews with The complex stars Cristin Milioti & William Jackson Harper and Gabriela Cartol. You can also find our previous interviews with William Jackson Harper for We are separated and Midsommar.
More: The Resort: Where You’ve Seen The Cast Before
The first three episodes of The complex are now streaming on Peacock July 28.
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